Implats will not exit Zimbabwe

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JOHANNESBURG Impala Platinum, the worlds second-largest platinum producer, said Wednesday it would not exit Zimbabwe despite demands being made by the government that it hand over majority stakes in its operations to locals.

Implats chief executive David Brown told private radio station 702 Talk Radio the company still saw the Southern African nation as a good investment destination.

Theres huge expansion potential . . . but we need certainty, he said.

Zimbabwe, which holds the worlds second-largest platinum group of metals deposits after South Africa, is crucial to the future of the platinum industry because of its massive resources.

But platinum companies, as Zimbabwes largest investors, are being targeted in the governments drive to get all outside companies to hand over 51% stakes in their mines.

Implats has offered to hand over between 25% and 30% in equity and make up the balance through credits it hoped to receive in exchange for giving up some of its land five years ago.

But the minister in charge of Zimbabwes black empowerment drive, Saviour Kasukuwere, has rejected part of Implats proposal and has given the company till Wednesday next week to hand over 29,5% of its Zimplats operation.

The problem with Brown is that he talks too much. We are sick and tired of his delaying tactics, Kasukuwere said.

Kasukuwere has previously threatened to cancel the mining licences of non-compliant firms.